It is my pleasure to share a guest post by p.m. terrell plus a spotlight and excerpt from her exciting story, The Pendulum Files
It was my great fortune to win a beautiful pendant during a prior tour for this generous author...so make sure you leave a comment and you might be just as lucky!
by p.m. terrell
I once served on a panel with an author who told the audience that he had never spent one minute on research, and when he received mail complaining about the implausibility of his plots, he told them it was “just fiction”. I cringed when I heard this because I am a stickler for details. Today’s audience is more sophisticated than it has ever been; the Internet alone has opened doorways we didn’t have just a few short years ago, allowing readers to educate themselves on countless subjects from around the world.
I am a news junkie and I tend to read anything and everything I can get my hands on. I have a long list of possible plots that are often gleaned from news reports or even our government’s declassified documents. When the Soviet Union fell apart, it opened scores of additional documents providing details of countless missions against the United States and others.
The plot in The Pendulum Files revolves around merchant ships being bombed en route from China to the United States. The idea came from a variety of sources, including declassified CIA documents, maritime laws and struggles, Chinese imports to the USA and information on Black Sites.
There is a lot of inaccurate information on the Internet, so it’s always important to me to go only to trusted sites, and then verify the data I’ve received through at least two additional sources.
Vicki Boyd, the psychic spy who must determine who is bombing the merchant vessels, is patterned after real psychic spies that have been used by the CIA and the Department of Defense since the Cold War. I researched the programs the real spies are put through, how their information is verified, and also the personal toll it takes on them as they travel around the world in their minds. Though they are not generally at risk physically (though at least one death continues to remain a mystery to the public) they do encounter the same psychological toll as spies on the ground—being unable to talk about their jobs, for example, and leading double lives.
One aspect of the oceans that has come to light particularly after Plane MH370 went missing is that we know more about the surface of the moon than we know about our own oceans. Vast amounts of the oceans have never been charted and have never been explored. And to search for anything—whether it’s a ship or a plane—in certain parts of the world are at best, challenging, and at worst, impossible.
In writing The Pendulum Files, I discovered how the oceans are divided into grids, which are used when searching or when the need arises to move into a particular location. I researched maritime laws, especially when dealing with parts of the ocean that are truly not close to any major land mass. I also had to look at motives: who would have the most to gain if goods could no longer safely travel from overseas factories to American consumers?
This wasn’t my first book concerning China and it certainly won’t be my last. China is a sleeping giant who has gone from third world status to superpower potential in a relatively short amount of time. So my research also took me into what they gain through exporting goods—and it goes far beyond making money.
The Pendulum Files
by p.m. terrell
CIA operative Dylan Maguire joins forces with psychic spy Vicki Boyd to find out who is bombing merchant vessels bound for the United States from China. Their mission will lead them to Black Sites, the high seas and into covert operations. And when an assassin escapes from prison determined to finish the job he started, they find their personal lives and their missions are about to collide in ways they never could have imagined.
She wasn’t quite sure what roused her from sleep. But as Vicki slowly opened her eyes, she became aware of her nude body lying on one side with Dylan’s larger, muscular form curled up behind her. One arm was stretched over her protectively and her derriere rested against his lap, their legs intertwined.
Normally some moonlight found its way inside, but the room was so murky that she wondered if there was any moon at all this night. She narrowed her eyes in an effort to adjust to the darkness as Dylan’s measured, soft breathing remained against her ear.
She nearly gasped as her eyes fell upon a figure just a few feet from the bed. She frowned as it swayed in front of her; it was not flesh and blood—that much was obvious. It was almost opaque and as she continued to stare, it grew more luminous until a tiny woman stood in front of her with long, flowing white hair billowing about her as if blown by the wind.
She wore a thin nightgown that reached from the base of her neck all the way to her feet, and as Vicki continued to stare, she smiled.
“Mam,” Vicki breathed as she recognized Dylan’s grandmother.
Dylan murmured something incomprehensible and held her more tightly against him.
“Be careful what you do, child,” Mam said in a clear voice. “There are eyes on you.”
Vicki gasped and grabbed at the bed covering. “You shouldn’t be watching us!” she exclaimed.
Dylan awakened and leaned over her to look at her face. “What is it, Darlin’?”
Vicki could feel the heat in her cheeks. She half-turned to Dylan to see him watching her with sleepy eyes. “I—” She turned back to where his grandmother had stood, but she was gone.
“Another bad dream, mayhap?” he asked before settling back. “There’s nothin’ at’al to be frightened of, Darlin’. I’ll take good care o’ you.”
She tried to relax against his body once more. She kept her eyes open and her ears on alert but she was met only with silence and a darkness that reminded her that she’d had precious little sleep. Still, she pulled the bedcovers over them, covering their naked bodies.
The grandfather clock downstairs ticked off the seconds, the sound reminding her of just how silent the rest of the house really was. She finally felt herself snuggling into that warm cocoon of sleep.
She could feel Dylan’s breath against the back of her neck; it was the steady breathing of a man deeply asleep. Then she became aware of something else, something against her nose as if someone was breathing on her face.
Her eyes flew open to find Mam leaning down in front of her, her face just inches from hers.
“It isn’t me you need to be concernin’ y’self with, child,” she said. “Other eyes are watchin’.”
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p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in five genres. A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries is her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22 in 2008. The books include Exit 22, Vicki's Key, Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Dylan's Song and The Pendulum Files. Vicki's Key placed as one of four finalists in the 2012 International Book Awards. Her historical book, River Passage, won the 2010 Best Drama Award, and her romantic suspense, The Tempest Murders, placed as one of four finalists in the 2013 USA Best Book Awards.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she founded and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her specialties were computer crime and computer intelligence and her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Computer technology often weaves its way through her contemporary suspense/thrillers.
She is also the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of The Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, an annual event to raise money for literacy campaigns. She also serves on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library and the Robeson County Arts Council, and served as the first female president for the Chesterfield County/ Colonial Heights Crime Solvers.
A beautiful Celtic cross necklace
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